Going to Jail and need advice!

30 Replies

I have two rehabs going on side by side. My main contractor doesn't have the resources to complete both projects at the same time. This forced me to hire a second guy. Initial conversations went really well. He was a a retired marine looking for work. His bid was fair and then further reduced because I allowed him to stay at the property during the rehab. This was a very extensive job with water damage. A month and a half into the project now and I have been pleased with his work. However, today i get a phone call from my other guy next door and he informs me that the new guy had been arrested for stealing from Lowes. He was able to get this information because of his relationship with the pro-desk.  As of this evening the new guy was back at the property working. My question is, do I let him complete the work up to the level he has been paid and then fire him? fire him now and take the hit? Or let him finish the job in its entirety?

If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to help a guy out but this was a bad decision to try and save a buck. I think you're fortunate he didn't steal your tools and materials and disappear. Fire him now and count your blessings.

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I say let him finish the job entirely. He is doing a good job so far and you have no one else to take his place right now. Is he going to be a top choice in the future? Maybe not. But right now, he’s helping you and you are helping him. Maybe he’s stealing because he is in a bad place in his life. Or Maybe he’s a a legit thief? Who knows. But it shows a lot he’s back at work. It shows he’s hungry and ready to work. That is hard to find. But, only time will tell. for now, I think in the sort of pinch you are in, push through. Have a conversation with him to see where he is at and what kind of person he is. Feel him out. But In the mean time, you could look for someone else you can hire for future projects, that you have solid referrals from. Maybe hire the guy that was stealing for smaller projects in the future but I don’t think you should  fire the guy right now. You need him. take it day by day. Just my 2 cents.

@Rocky Griffin , What's he done to make you fire him?  He gave you a good bid.  You're pleased with his work.  He was at work today (and if he was sober that would make him employee of the month in Key West).

Be very careful when you... heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another.....

One thing I forgot to mention. You haven’t said he was stealing from you and he’s been living in the property. So, he hasn’t stolen from you, price is reasonable, he’s  doing a good job and he is reliable (when not in jail) This also goes a long way in you decision to fire him. I think you should further analyze the situation.

His arrest was confirmed by myself through county records. Just to clarify my feelings are to leave him on the job. I am most curious how other investors would handle such a situation. 

quick question, is the stuff he was allegedly stealing (an arrest is not a conviction) going in your house? It might be worth a quick check with an attorney to understand your liability and your obligations.

I don't pretend to know anything about it, but having stolen goods installed, especially if you have personal knowledge of the circumstances can't be a good thing to be involved with.

Fire him today! I have lived this same type of story several times and it never, I repeat never works out. If you wait, you will regret it (first verify that this is 100% true)

good luck Rocky! Would be very curious to learn what they say.

If he's stealing and installing at your residence can Lowe's not come after you and your residence (subrogation)

Or are you supplying all and paying for all and he's just the installer?


You have a lot to think about. 

Hope that helps.

Could he be a kleptomaniac or have OCD?  Since he was arrested but back working the next day, I'd also want to know what he took and if it wound up in your house.

So far, he has done framing and drywall work. All large materials. I am concerned that he may have been in the lumber yard and attempted to leave with more then her purchased. I wonder If I am able to get that information from the police department? Naturally I don't want to to put my property in jeopardy or put myself at risk for being accused of receiving stolen property. I will present my contract and the situation to my attorney and go from there.  

@Nathan G. "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur." - Great quote

@Rocky Griffin another thing to consider, and be concerned with is... by letting him "live" there while he is working, if it has been 30+ days, he is legally a "tenant" and you may potentially have to go through the eviction process to get him out. Even if there is no lease, if it's been 30 days or more, then this is a concern. Of course, this is purely from my own knowledge of the laws in Florida, best to consult your attorney on this as well.

@Marty True I wrote the contract in a way that he acknowledged his lack of tenancy and a termination date.

Have you brought it up with him?  Maybe having an adult conversation with the man will help you make your final decision.  Like others have said, you may be liable since he is probably using these stolen goods to use in your homes renovation.

Good luck!

Not to paint with a broad brush but many contractors are criminals so it shouldn't be a surprise. I say keep an eye on him and let him finish the work. 

Leverage his criminal charges to your advantage. He will be in a difficult position if you fire him and he knows it. Use him to your advantage and terminate when the it is to your best advantage.

Originally posted by @Rocky Griffin :

So far, he has done framing and drywall work. All large materials. I am concerned that he may have been in the lumber yard and attempted to leave with more then her purchased. I wonder If I am able to get that information from the police department? Naturally I don't want to to put my property in jeopardy or put myself at risk for being accused of receiving stolen property. I will present my contract and the situation to my attorney and go from there.  

 Sometimes OSCN has actual docs describing the situation. What kind of theft is he charged with?

I once had a gutter contractor tell me after a job "I'm surprised you let me have and finish this job". When I asked him why, he said he figured once I saw him on the news I would have cancelled him. When I asked him why he was on the news, he said he supposedly hired a hit man to kill his wife. The hit man turned out to be an undercover officer. I told him "lucky I rarely watch the news". 

In any case, the wife didn't die and he did a good job on the gutters so I was satisfied. ;)

@Rocky Griffin tell him you need to talk to him. Let him know you are aware of the situation with his arrest and ask for him to explain. If you choose to keep him, you will have his loyalty for helping him instead of kicking him when he was down. 

It is hard to walk in another persons shoes. An ex Marine facing jail time that loses his job could be the final straw in a struggling life. I don't know him or his situation, but my point is how you handle this has repercussions. Your grace in his time of need could mean more than you ever know.

Originally posted by @JD Martin :

I once had a gutter contractor tell me after a job "I'm surprised you let me have and finish this job". When I asked him why, he said he figured once I saw him on the news I would have cancelled him. When I asked him why he was on the news, he said he supposedly hired a hit man to kill his wife. The hit man turned out to be an undercover officer. I told him "lucky I rarely watch the news". 

In any case, the wife didn't die and he did a good job on the gutters so I was satisfied. ;)

 Yikes you can't make that one up. Dodged a bullet with that one!

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